happiest place on earth

We just had the best vacation ever. Seriously. The best. Walt Disney World really is the happiest place on earth as far as I’m concerned. Travelling with great friends made it even more fun. Thank you Ronnie, Brian, Connor and Caitlin for an awesome adventure. Let’s make it an annual event!

with pluto and goofy
group shot!

The boys were excellent travelers, so the six hour drive (each way) in the silver bullet was as painless as possible.

Our adventure began at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The kids had no idea what to expect, so every second of the ten hour day was exciting.

caitlin, connor, liam and kellan
day 1: hollywood studios

Our first stop was at Disney Junior – Live on Stage. It was so cute! As soon as Mickey popped up on stage, Kellan began waving and shouting, “Hi, Mickey Mouse!” I may have teared up a bit.

We wandered around the park and let everyone burn off some energy at Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

go, go, go

The boys were mesmerized by Lights, Motors, Action! and Brian (not my Brian, the other Brian) had a starring role in Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. And, of course, the Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun Parade was a huge hit. We pretty much owned the joint.

team monahan
team monahan

Day two was laid back. We caught up on a tiny bit of missed sleep then spent the late afternoon and evening at the campsites at Fort Wilderness Resort. We didn’t sleep at the campsite, but we grilled burgers there then spent the rest of the evening at the pool, eating s’mores and dancing at Chip’n Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long and watching Homeward Bound, the featured Movie Under the Stars. It was a great way to sneak in a low key day to help the kids (and grown ups) recoup some energy. Plus, we received resort privileges and a parking pass that was good at all the parks.

We hit Animal Kingdom on day three. We immediately went to the Kilimanjaro Safari. Everyone loved seeing the animals as we bounced down the road and the animals were all up and moving in the morning. Naturally, Dinoland was a big hit. The kids played for ages in the Boneyard. Honestly, for all the cool stuff to see, the play areas may have been the biggest hit.

laim and caitlin
dinosaur bones

Liam was crazy about the Dinosaur ride. I worried that it would scare him, but he loved it. It’s his favorite part of the trip. We ended the day at the Festival of the Lion King, which was absolutely amazing. Sadly, Liam chickened out when invited to join the performers, but luckily for us, Connor jumped right in!

liam, mickey and kellan
finally meeting the big cheese

I must admit, however, that my favorite part of the day was spent in the shade  behind the Dawa Bar sipping mojitos with my Brian while the hooligan’s napped!

nap time
disney 2, boys 0

Day four was a big night! After a lazy day at the pool, we dressed up for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.

halloween party

It was a super late night and though Liam slept through it all, the Kel-Kel monster partied like a rock star.

video of kellan dancing
click to see some moves like jagger

The Boo to You Parade was really cool as were the amazing Happy HalloWishes fireworks. Plus, I got to do my first zombie makeup!

cutest. zombie. ever.

On our last park day, which was also my birthday(!), we ate and drank our way around the world at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. I love, love, love the F&W Festival. Like alot. The boys seemed to have fun too…

i wuv sweedish meatballs

Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better…we met up with Shawn, Ashley, Emory and Mr. and Mrs. G.

kellan, emory, liam and jen
chillin’ in new zealand

Alas, the boys crashed crossing the bridge from France to England so B and I were forced to sit on a bench next to the Ireland Marketplace. Hard as it was to nibble Irish cheeses and Fisherman’s Pie and sip Guinness, we sacrificed two hours so that our cherished children could rest.

mommy and daddy

What an amazing (and exhausting) week. Can’t wait to do it again!

no nap! no nap! zzzzzzz….

don’t mind me

just growin’ a baby.


We’re volunteering for a fetal growth study. That means a whole bunch of 3d ultrasounds. It’s very exciting. The above video was taken yesterday.

We’re about 12 weeks in development. New Baby is already shakin’ and jivin’ in there. NB is measuring 6cm from head to rump (that a little over 2 1/4″ to us Americans) and has a zippy heart rate of 168 beats per minute.  How cool is it that all the parts of the body are already there and only need to grow?

party on

liam gregor

The crown suits him, don’t you think? The little man had his first birthday party on Saturday. All Liam’s pals were there.


We had oysters and catfish stew and snacks and cake and lots of fun. Gee and Gramps spent the weekend with us, which was really nice. And new teeth were dropping so Saturday’s fun started at 4:27 AM. Yay! The weather was perfect and the oysters delish.

liam and gee
liam and gee
liam and stu
liam and stu
the hoel boys
the hoel boys

Here’s a video of the birthday boy and his cake.

Liam's First Birthday

PS. the video was taken and edited together with our new Flip Ultra HD and its included software. We picked one up at Costco last week. It was relatively inexpensive and very, very simple. The HDMI is especially nice. We were able to peek at the video after Liam went to bed.

PPS. Will post info about the crown and cake and hilariously ugly jello rainbow tomorrow.

you be the judge

Supergenius or not-so-much…


So, the boy figured out that the circle shapes fit in the lower-right opening of the box. We verified that the location was key by rotating the box. The shape of the opening was irrelevant, Liam continued to try to force the circles into the lower-right opening.  He’s borrowing daddy’s technique. If it doesn’t fit the first time, hit it harder. Removing the shapes turned our boy wonder into a monkey caught in a banana trap. Pretty funny to watch.

Check out our little hippy’s hair. It’s getting long. I don’t think I’ll be able to have it cut. It’s just so soft. And he’s so cute when it’s messy.

Sunday wasn't all bad
ring, ring
ring, ring

Still no top teeth, but they are right there and causing our guy some serious discomfort. See the little bulges?

almost teeth
almost teeth

fast and furious

officially cruising
officially cruising

And just like that he’s sleeping again. For a little more than a week every nap and most bed times were battles. Crazy temper tantrums and early wake ups and even a few middle of the night awakenings creating a perfect storm of over tired  bad attitude. Then, all of a sudden, nothing, a sweet happy baby in his crib.  Whatever. We’ll take it.

Liam’s bedtime started to creep later and later. After dinner now he plays hard, then has a bath, and plays in his room until bed. A few days he was up until a bit after 7. He just didn’t seem tired. I was thrilled, thinking this later bed time would translate into later wake up.  Not so much. He started waking at 5 again. So, with no other ideas to work with, we put him to bed at 6:45, even though he was still acting wide awake, and he slept until 5:45. The next day he slept until 5:55. Last night Liam was in bed at 6:30 and he slept until 6:10. There used to be clear sleep cues, but not anymore. He just never acts sleepy until he’s snuggling Lovey right before bed. I’m so confused.

All this boring detail is here so that I can review it next time his sleep goes off the rails. Thanks for your patience.

Now for the important stuff. Houston, we have consonants. Liam has begun to “dadada” and “mamama”. It’s silly cute. He is also pulling himself up on furniture and cruising. Plus, he can sit back down from a standing position.  It’s amazing. He found the cat toy stash too and seems to prefer those to his own toys. Once again, the cats are not thrilled.


It really feels like he understands what we’re saying sometimes. He actually did what I told him yesterday. That reads funny. What I mean is that yesterday while Liam was playing with his shapes, I pointed to one that was away from the rest and said something to the effect of “There’s another one. Put that one in the box too.” and he did. Wow! I was stunned. Now he’s really like the cats in that he can deliberately ignore us.

i can't hear you
i can't hear you

PS. I embroidered “EAGLES” and cut the sleeves on one of Liam’s t-shirts, but I must go back and lightly bleach the back of all his shirts. There’s a hard line on each sleeve and it looks funny to have a mottled front and perfectly solid back.